3D In The Air
European research project scientists are exploring how to capture, process and display accurate 3D reproductions of cultural sites located in challenging environments.
Scladina Cave is an archaeological site in Belgium. According to prehistorians, Neanderthal men and women used this space more than 1,000 centuries ago.
It’s with very modern technology, such as drones, that researchers are currently looking for ways to better study, protect and promote the site.
At Scladina cave they’re testing their secret weapon, a drone, in a prehistoric environment.
The use of a drone in such a complex site is full of challenges – and rewards.
Frederic Bezombes, Mechatronic Engineer, Liverpool John Moores University:
“In normal 3D mapping, with cameras on the ground, you always have gaps; as you work with the same perspective you are never able to accurately map what is above. But with a drone equipped with cameras with wide angles we’re able to fill those gaps in just one go.”
The drone is equipped with three cameras that record every corner of the cave. Each object is mapped in its own archaeological context.
Engineers are actively helped by archaeologists, for whom the pictures obtained are full of promise.
Kevin Di Modica, Prehistorian:
Post-capture processing allows for the development of digital 3D representations.
Drones, scientists say, are indeed proving useful when it comes to providing cost-efficient solutions to develop 3D models of cultural sites.
Isabelle De Groote, Paleoanthropoligist, John Moores University / Digiart Project Coordinator:
Scientists now want to use these 3D animation to make video-games and create interactive Web databases to better promote European cultural assets.
For that they are using not only visual material from drones but also sophisticated scans of small cultural objects.
Frederic Precioso, Computer Scientist, Nice Sophia Antipolis University:
“If these other objects are enriched with other complementary information, meta-data, multimedia, we are then able to link our object to this.”
The final goal, scientists say, is to offer citizens an interactive hand for a better, deeper understanding of cultural sites, particularly ones whose access is difficult or restricted, like Scladina Cave.
Kevin Di Modica:
Isabelle De Groote:
The video on this page was prepared in collaboration with Euronews for the Futuris programme.